Wee Willie Sherdel: The Cardinals' Winningest Left-Hander

FriesenPress
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Wee Willie Sherdel was a very humble, courageous left-handed pitcher who became one of the all-time great southpaws in St. Louis Cardinals history. The son of a German blacksmith in a small Pennsylvania village, Willie’s dream was to become a major league pitcher – a rather big dream for a small boy. Not the most talented or biggest, he worked hard and learned from greats like Eddie Plank, Branch Rickey and Grover Cleveland Alexander. Sherdel’s best years were in the 1920s while Rickey was developing the farm system concept and the Cards were playing in two World Series. Known for his slow ball, Willie was given the honor of pitching the first game against Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the powerful Yankees in both Series.

Although labeled a hard-luck pitcher in the Series, Sherdel performed many great feats on the diamond. Since his retirement in 1932, he remains the Redbirds’ winningest left-hander and fourth all-time winner. Willie also has pitched the third-most games and the fourth-most innings. Like all pitchers, he loved to talk about his hitting. Among Cardinals’ pitchers, Sherdel owns the fourth-most career home runs and the fifth-best batting average for his .337 in 1923.

His contemporaries included over 90 Hall of Famers and some of the greatest players of all-time including Ruth, Gehrig, Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby.
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About the author

Author John G. Coulson resides in Hanover, Pennsylvania. He has been involved with baseball his whole life as a player, coach and fan. He claims he held a baseball bat before a pencil. His earliest memories include running around the bases while his father was coaching a state championship team. John graduated from Millersville State College and spent his first career in banking technology. As a writer he previously wrote the book Hanover Raiders about the class D Blue Ridge League. He is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

John T. Sherdel is the grandson of Wee Willie and lives in New Oxford, Pennsylvania. He continues to promote the memory of his grandfather and remains a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan.
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Additional Information

Publisher
FriesenPress
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Published on
Jun 11, 2018
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Pages
398
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ISBN
9781525517457
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Language
English
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Genres
Sports & Recreation / Baseball / Essays & Writings
Sports & Recreation / Baseball / General
Sports & Recreation / Baseball / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This is a book about baseball’s true “replacement players.”


During the four seasons the U.S. was at war in World War II (1942-1945), 533 players made their major-league debuts. There were 67 first-time major leaguers under the age of 21 (Joe Nuxhall the youngest at 15 in 1944). More than 60 percent of the players in the 1941 Opening Day lineups departed for the service. The 1944 Dodgers had only Dixie Walker and Mickey Owen as the two regulars from their 1941 pennant-winning team.


The owners brought in not only first-timers but also many oldsters. Hod Lisenbee pitched 80 innings for the Reds in 1945 at the age of 46. He had last pitched in the major leagues in 1936. War veteran and former POW Bert Shepard, with an artificial leg, pitched in one game for the 1945 Senators, and one-armed outfielder Pete Gray played for the St. Louis Browns.


The war years featured firsts and lasts. The St. Louis Browns won their first (and last) pennant in 1944 — a feat made more amazing by the fact that they had not finished in the first division since 1929. The 1944 team featured 13 players classified as 4-F. The Chicago Cubs appeared in the 1945 World Series but have not made it back since.


Some 53 members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) have contributed to this volume. We invite you to sit back and relax as you learn Who's on First?


Includes contributions by: Alan Cohen, Ashlie Christian And Armand Peterson, Bill Nowlin, Bob Brady, Bob Lemoine, Bob Mayer, Bob Webster, Charles Faber, Charlie Weatherby, Chris Rainey, Cort Vitty, David Finoli, David M. Jordan, David Raglin And Barb Mantegani, David W. Pugh, Don Zminda, Duke Goldman, Greg Erion, Gregg Omoth, Gregory H. Wolf, J. G. Preston, James D. Smith, Iii, Jay Hurd, Jeff Marlett, Jeff Obermeyer, Jim Sweetman, Joanne Hulbert, John Shannahan, Leslie Heaphy, Lyle Spatz, Marc Lancaster, Marc Z Aaron, Mark S. Sternman, Mel Marmer, Merrie A. Fidler, Michael Huber, Michael Huber And Rachel Hamelers, Mike Mcclary, Peter C. Bjarkman, Rex Hamann, Rich Bogovich, Richard Cuicchi, Richard Moraski, Rory Costello And Lou Hernández, Seamus Kearney, Sidney Davis, Steve Smith, Thomas Ayers, Tom Hawthorn, Walter Leconte


Table of Contents:

Introduction MARC Z AARON

The Business of Baseball
During World War II JEFF OBERMEYER

“But Where is Pearl Harbor?” Baseball and the Day the World Changed, December 7, 1941 BOB LEMOINE

The Tri-Cornered War Bond Baseball Game MICHAEL HUBER AND RACHEL HAMELERS


NATIONAL LEAGUE


Boston Braves

How the Boston Braves Survived the War But Lost the Battle for Boston BOB BRADY

Ben Cardoni BY MARK S. STERNMAN

Buck Etchison BY ALAN COHEN

Butch Nieman BY SIDNEY DAVIS

Mystery Member of the ‘45 Braves BOB BRADY


Brooklyn Dodgers

The Brooklyn Dodgers in Wartime MICHAEL HUBER

John “Fats” D’Antonio RICHARD CUICCHI

Bill Hart BOB LEMOINE

Lee Pfund BOB WEBSTER


Chicago Cubs

The Cubs in Wartime THOMAS AYERS

Jorge Comellas RICH BOGOVICH

Billy Holm BILL NOWLIN

Walter Signer GREGORY H. WOLF


Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds During World War II JAY HURD

Tomás de la Cruz PETER C. BJARKMAN

Buck Fausett J. G. PRESTON

Dick Sipek CHARLES FABER 


New York Giants

The New York Giants in Wartime BOB MAYER 

Al Gardella CHARLIE WEATHERBY

Frank Seward JEFF MARLETT

Roy Zimmerman JOANNE HULBERT


Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies in Wartime SEAMUS KEARNEY 

Chet Covington STEVE SMITH

Hilly Flitcraft JIM SWEETMAN 

Lee Riley MEL MARMER 


Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates in Wartime DAVID FINOLI 

Xavier Rescigno DAVID FINOLI

Len Gilmore DAVID FINOLI 

Frankie Zak DAVID FINOLI


St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals in Wartime GREGORY H. WOLF 

Jack Creel GREGORY H. WOLF

Gene Crumling GREGORY H. WOLF

Bob Keely GREGORY H. WOLF 


AMERICAN LEAGUE


Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox in Wartime BILL NOWLIN 

Otey Clark BILL NOWLIN

Ty LaForest BILL NOWLIN 

Stan Partenheimer JOHN SHANNAHAN 

The Frostbite League: Spring Training 1943 - 1945 BILL NOWLIN

The 1944 Red Sox: What Could Have Been DUKE GOLDMAN 


Chicago White Sox

The White Sox in Wartime DON ZMINDA 

Vince Castino DAVID RAGLIN AND BARB MANTEGANI 

Guy Curtright DON ZMINDA 

Floyd Speer REX HAMANN 


Cleveland Indians

World War II and the Cleveland Indians DAVID W. PUGH 

Otto Denning CHRIS RAINEY 

Jim McDonnell ASHLIE CHRISTIAN AND ARMAND PETERSON 

Mickey Rocco GREGG OMOTH


Detroit Tigers

The Tigers in Wartime MIKE MCCLARY 

Chuck Hostetler MARC LANCASTER 

Bobby Maier MARC LANCASTER 

Charlie Metro TOM HAWTHORN 


New York Yankees

The Yankees in Wartime MARC Z AARON

Joe Buzas MARC Z AARON 

Mike Garbark MARC Z AARON 

Bud Metheny MARC Z AARON 


Philadelphia Athletics

The Wartime Philadelphia Athletics DAVID M. JORDAN

Orie Arntzen GREGORY H. WOLF 

Jim Tyack ALAN COHEN

Woody Wheaton ALAN COHEN 


St. Louis Browns

The St. Louis Browns in World War II GREG ERION 

Milt Byrnes GREG ERION 

Charley Fuchs GREG ERION 

Pete Gray MEL MARMER 


Washington Senators

The Washington Senators in Wartime RICHARD MORASKI 

Ed Butka CORT VITTY

Jug Thesenga BOB LEMOINE 

Tony Zardón RORY COSTELLO AND LOU HERNÁNDEZ 

Senators Who Died in Combat RICHARD MORASKI 


OTHER ESSAYS

The All-Star Games in the War Years LYLE SPATZ 

Wartime Baseball: Minor Leagues, Major Changes (San Diego to Buffalo) JAMES D. SMITH, III 

Impact of WWII on the Negro Leagues LESLIE HEAPHY 

Baseball’s Women on the Field During WWII MERRIE A. FIDLER

In-season Exhibition Games During Wartime WALTER LECONTE 

The Double Victory Campaign and the Campaign to Integrate Baseball DUKE GOLDMAN 


The last time the Chicago Cubs played in the World Series, World War II had just ended. The last time they won a World Series, World War I had not yet begun. But from 1906-1910 the Cubs not only played in the World Series four of the five years, they won two World Championships, as well. It was a time when the Cubs ruled baseball, and no one could have imagined the roller coaster adventures that were ahead for this grand old franchise.

In The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty: Before the Curse, Hal Bock tells the story of this legendary team, the characters who were central to its success, and the misfortunes which have plagued the team ever since. Stars such as pitcher Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown and the double-play combination of Tinker to Evers to Chance are profiled, as are opponents who caused the Cubs unending headaches, like superstar pitcher Christy Mathewson and immortal shortstop Honus Wagner. A chronology and cast of characters set the stage for the reader before Bock delves into the early history of the Cubs and the assembly of what would become a dynasty. With talent to spare and just a little bit of luck going their way, the Chicago Cubs were unstoppable. But when an angry fan issued a curse on the team during the 1945 World Series, some believe it marked the beginning of the end for this storied franchise.

Featuring 100-year-old images from historic baseball cards, profiles of Hall of Fame legends, and a foreword by Cubs supporter and TV star Joe Mantegna, The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty will appeal to all baseball fans, but especially to those always-passionate Cubs enthusiasts from around the nation.
Atlanta Braves third baseman and National Hall of Famer Chipper Jones—one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history—shares his remarkable story, while capturing the magic nostalgia that sets baseball apart from every other sport.
 
Before Chipper Jones became an eight-time All-Star who amassed Hall of Fame–worthy statistics during a nineteen-year career with the Atlanta Braves, he was just a country kid from small town Pierson, Florida. A kid who grew up playing baseball in the backyard with his dad dreaming that one day he’d be a major league ballplayer.  
 
With his trademark candor and astonishing recall, Chipper Jones tells the story of his rise to the MLB ranks and what it took to stay with one organization his entire career in an era of booming free agency. His journey begins with learning the art of switch-hitting and takes off after the Braves make him the number one overall pick in the 1990 draft, setting him on course to become the linchpin of their lineup at the height of their fourteen-straight division-title run.
 
Ballplayer takes readers into the clubhouse of the Braves’ extraordinary dynasty, from the climax of the World Series championship in 1995 to the last-gasp division win by the 2005 “Baby Braves”; all the while sharing pitch-by-pitch dissections of clashes at the plate with some of the all-time great starters, such as Clemens and Johnson, as well as closers such as Wagner and Papelbon. He delves into his relationships with Bobby Cox and his famous Braves brothers—Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, among them—and opponents from Cal Ripken Jr. to Barry Bonds. The National League MVP also opens up about his overnight rise to superstardom and the personal pitfalls that came with fame; his spirited rivalry with the New York Mets; his reflections on baseball in the modern era—outrageous money, steroids, and all—and his special last season in 2012.
 
Ballplayer immerses us in the best of baseball, as if we’re sitting next to Chipper in the dugout on an endless spring day.
"Tough, straight, upsetting, and strangely beautiful. One of the best sports autobiographies I've ever read. It comes from the heart." —Stephen King

Eclipsing the traditional sports memoir, House of Nails, by former world champion, multimillionaire entrepreneur, and imprisoned felon Lenny Dykstra, spins a tragicomic tale of Shakespearean proportions -- a relentlessly entertaining American epic that careens between the heights and the abyss.

Nicknamed "Nails" for his hustle and grit, Lenny approached the game of baseball -- and life -- with mythic intensity. During his decade in the majors as a center fielder for the legendary 1980s Mets and the 1990s Phillies, he was named to three All-Star teams and played in two of the most memorable World Series of the modern era. An overachiever known for his clutch hits, high on-base percentage, and aggressive defense, Lenny was later identified by his former minor-league roommate Billy Beane as the prototypical "Moneyball" player in Michael Lewis's bestseller. Tobacco-stained, steroid-powered, and booze-and-drug-fueled, Nails also defined a notorious era of excess in baseball.

Then came a second act no novelist could plausibly conjure: After retiring, Dykstra became a celebrated business mogul and investment guru. Touted as "one of the great ones" by CNBC's Jim Cramer, he became "baseball's most improbable post-career success story" (The New Yorker), purchasing a $17.5-million mansion and traveling the world by private jet. But when the economy imploded in 2008, Lenny lost everything. Then the feds moved in: convicted of bankruptcy fraud (unjustly, he contends), Lenny served two and a half harrowing years in prison, where he was the victim of a savage beating by prison guards that knocked out his front teeth.

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, channeling the bewildered fascination of many observers, declared that Lenny's outrageous rise and spectactular fall was "the greatest story that I have ever seen in my lifetime."

Now, for the first time, Lenny tells all about his tumultuous career, from battling through crippling pain to steroid use and drug addiction, to a life of indulgence and excess, then, an epic plunge and the long road back to redemption. Was Lenny's hard-charging, risk-it-all nature responsible for his success in baseball and business and his precipitous fall from grace? What lessons, if any, has he learned now that he has had time to think and reflect?

Hilarious, unflinchingly honest, and irresistibly readable, House of Nails makes no apologies and leaves nothing left unsaid.

In the summer of 1998 two of baseball leading sluggers, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, embarked on a race to break Babe Ruth’s single season home run record. The nation was transfixed as Sosa went on to hit 66 home runs, and McGwire 70. Three years later, San Francisco Giants All-Star Barry Bonds surpassed McGwire by 3 home runs in the midst of what was perhaps the greatest offensive display in baseball history. Over the next three seasons, as Bonds regularly launched mammoth shots into the San Francisco Bay, baseball players across the country were hitting home runs at unprecedented rates. For years there had been rumors that perhaps some of these players owed their success to steroids. But crowd pleasing homers were big business, and sportswriters, fans, and officials alike simply turned a blind eye. Then, in December of 2004, after more than a year of investigation, San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams broke the story that in a federal investigation of a nutritional supplement company called BALCO, Yankees slugger Jason Giambi had admitted taking steroids. Barry Bonds was also implicated. Immediately the issue of steroids became front page news. The revelations led to Congressional hearings on baseball’s drug problems and continued to drive the effort to purge the U.S. Olympic movement of drug cheats. Now Fainaru-Wada and Williams expose for the first time the secrets of the BALCO investigation that has turned the sports world upside down.

Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroid Scandal That Rocked Professional by award-winning investigative journalists Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, is a riveting narrative about the biggest doping scandal in the history of sports, and how baseball’s home run king, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, came to use steroids. Drawing on more than two years of reporting, including interviews with hundreds of people, and exclusive access to secret grand jury testimony, confidential documents, audio recordings, and more, the authors provide, for the first time, a definitive account of the shocking steroids scandal that made headlines across the country.

The book traces the career of Victor Conte, founder of the BALCO laboratory, an egomaniacal former rock musician and self-proclaimed nutritionist, who set out to corrupt sports by providing athletes with “designer” steroids that would be undetectable on “state-of-the-art” doping tests. Conte gave the undetectable drugs to 28 of the world’s greatest athletes—Olympians, NFL players and baseball stars, Bonds chief among them.

A separate narrative thread details the steroids use of Bonds, an immensely talented, moody player who turned to performance-enhancing drugs after Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals set a new home run record in 1998. Through his personal trainer, Bonds gained access to BALCO drugs. All of the great athletes who visited BALCO benefited tremendously—Bonds broke McGwire’s record—but many had their careers disrupted after federal investigators raided BALCO and indicted Conte. The authors trace the course of the probe, and the baffling decision of federal prosecutors to protect the elite athletes who were involved.

Highlights of Game of Shadows include:

Barry Bonds

A look at how Bonds was driven to use performance-enhancing drugs in part by jealousy over Mark McGwire’s record-breaking 1998 season. It was shortly thereafter that Bonds—who had never used anything more performance enhancing than a protein shake from the health food store—first began using steroids. How Bonds’s weight trainer, steroid dealer Greg Anderson, arranged to meet Victor Conte before the 2001 baseball season with...
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